Some random milestones:
China’s foreign exchange reserves have topped $1 trillion, while its trade surplus swelled 74% last year to a record US$177,5bn. • The value of the more than 1 400 companies listed in China has more than doubled during the past year to $1 trillion, fuelled by economic growth of 10%. China now ranks as Asia’s thirdlargest equity market by capitalisation. China’s Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) recently overtook the Bank of America to become the second-largest bank in the world. ICBC’s market value is around $251bn against the Bank of America’s $245bn. Fifty-two overseas institutions, led by the Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS), have received approval to invest in mainland stocks and bonds. Aaron Boesky, who manages $40m in the only overseas fund to invest solely in China’s domestic market, says demand is sometimes so tight that “people fight with their fists to get an allotment of shares”. China’s National Social Security Fund (NSSF), which has assets of $300bn, recently awarded 10 foreign fund managers hotly contested mandates to invest more than $1bn in overseas stocks and bonds. This is the first time it has happened. Some 84 fund managers from around the world competed for these prestigious mandates. Two of the 10 winners are owned by Allianz, Germany’s biggest insurer, and two others are arms of Axa, France’s top insurer. China has made promises worth $1,6 trillion in today’s money for which it has made no provision. Investments in Chinese domestic mutual funds recently passed the $100bn mark for the first time. The figure jumped 83% last year. Savings bank deposits total $2 trillion. China now boasts the world’s largest market for financial instruments. Data compiled by Goldman Sachs shows that warrant turnover on the Shanghai and Shenzen stock exchanges reached about $240bn last year. Mainland property companies sold $1,6bn in bonds last year, accounting for 84% of offshore issuance volumes from the mainland. The mainland’s housing market is flourishing as an estimated 8m people flock to cities each year. In Beijing, the average residential property price per square metre is R8 500.